Heart Failure, Diabetes Might Be Linked by Protein

THURSDAY Jan. 5, 2012 -- Researchers may have pinpointed how heart disease can lead to diabetes, a finding that could lead to new preventive treatments.

The team at Chiba University in Japan found that the stress of heart failure activates a protein called p53, resulting in inflammation in fat tissue, systemic insulin resistance and worsening heart function.

This domino effect is outlined in a study in the January issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.

"Our findings clarify the reasons why the incidence of heart failure is high among diabetic patients, why the prevalence of insulin resistance is increased in heart failure patients and why treatment of insulin resistance improves the prognosis of heart failure patients," study author Tohru Minamino said in a journal news release.

Previous research by the author has shown that build-up of p53 in the heart -- from stress or age -- promotes heart failure, the release said. While p53 is best known as a tumor suppressor, it is also a cellular aging agent, according to Minamino. He explained that constant activation of p53 can lead to inflammation and aging-related diseases.

Finding a way to block inflammation associated with p53 activation without compromising the protein's tumor-fighting abilities could lead to anti-aging therapy without the cancer risk, Minamino said.

More information

The U.S. National Diabetes Education Program outlines how you can prevent diabetes.

Posted: January 2012


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